The Hispanic/Latinx (hereafter Latinx) population in the United States represents over 18% of the total population.1 However, Latinx representation in the physician workforce is merely 5.8% (2019).2 The representation is low at every level of education: 6.1% of medical school graduates identified as Latinx from 2008 to 2019,3 and 9% of internal medicine residents identified as Latinx in 2020-2021.4

The Medical Organization for Latino Advancement (MOLA) was founded to create programs and solutions to increase representation and reduce the inequities that Latinx students and professionals experience in medicine and across healthcare fields. Ultimately, MOLA aims to improve the health and well-being of the Hispanic/Latinx community and all.


MOLA is a non-profit association of Hispanic/Latinx physicians and health professionals working for career advancement, linguistic and cultural competency, advocacy, personal wellness, and health equity for the good of the entire Hispanic/Latinx community


MOLA measures its success through metrics that demonstrate our ability to reduce educational inequities, increase representation throughout the pathway of medical and health professions careers, and address the health disparities in the Latinx community. Additionally, through partnerships and collaborations, we can increase our impact on Latinx physicians and health professionals throughout as well as on the communities they serve.


MOLA’s mission is carried through two organizational areas that report to the Executive Committee: MOLA Academic Pathways and MOLA Leadership Pathways.

MOLA Academic Pathways

Is a dedicated effort to build the pathway for physicians and health professionals in academia. The MOLA Academic Pathways Program comprises committees in Education & Research (E&R) and Mentorship. E&R includes two key components: the MOLA Scholar Program and the Annual Latinx Health Symposium. Mentorship integrates programs related to General Mentorship, Aves del Paraíso (DACA/Dreamers), International Health Graduates (IHG), and LGBTQ Health.

MOLA Leadership Pathways

Aims to create a pathway for students, physicians, and health professionals pursuing and thriving in leadership roles. The program integrates leadership training through administrative, development, financial, and consulting, including membership engagement and communications.

The Academic Pathways and Leadership Pathways areas each have an associated Fellowship program. One fellow for each Pathway is selected in a competitive process for one to two-year periods.




  • 6 years since MOLA’s founding (May 2017).
  • 1,401 members (December 2022): 6% Health Professionals (non-physician), 10% International Health Graduates, 10% Practicing Physicians/Faculty, 5% Resident/Fellow Physicians, 70% Students, including graduate students in health professions, medical students, pre-health undergraduates, doctoral candidates, and a small number of high school students.
  • 3 programmatic committees including 3 Task Forces and 4 Functional committees.
  • Administrative and Programmatic Support: 2 Fellowships.


  • 58 Core Volunteers.
  • 48 MOLA Wisconsin members.
  • 68 mentees finished our Mentorship program in June 2022.
  • $ 65,000 given in scholarships to 11 MOLA-MRF Scholars (in partnership with the Michael Reese Research and Education Foundation, MRF, principal sponsor for the MOLA-MRF Scholars).
  • 3 main networking events on our Beyond USMLE Series (“Organize our match season”, “The Covid-19 crisis”, and “USMLE’s recent changes”).
  • Sixth Annual Latinx Health Symposium in October 2022 (described in greater detail below)“USMLE’s recent changes”).



MOLA’s membership base practices primarily in the Midwest (Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Minnesota, Iowa, and Ohio) and its diaspora reaches Puerto Rico, Florida, New York, Texas, California, and New England states.


  • Physicians
  • Behavioral Health
  • Nurse Practitioners
  • Physician Assistants
  • Public Health experts
  • Healthcare Management professionals

MOLA’S 2022



Co-chairs: Ana Mauro, MD; Yesenia Chávez, medical student and former MOLA-MRF Scholar, and Jovany Soto, MS

The Mentorship Program enhanced its Casas model to provide a more personalized and focused mentor/mentee pairing. This approach is structured around monthly mentorship events that provide mentees the tools to achieve the next stepping stone in their career advancement. The curriculum part of mentorship includes workshops on building skills to achieve MCAT high scores, personal wellness, racism in the workplace, LGBTQ Health, residency matching, research skills, financial literacy, and resources, as well as resilience, how to self-advocate, and other inspirational content.


In 2022, we started and finished our program with 64 mentees from 33 Casas.

33 mentors:

  • 2 high school students
  • 17 undergraduate students
  • 20 post-college students
  • 7 medical students
  • 18 international health graduates

64 mentees:

  • 17 physicians
  • 10 medical students
  • 2 public health experts
  • 1 graduate students
  • 2 undergraduate
  • 1 Informatic and Research PhD


The Saturday Educational Series participants reported a better understanding of the application process for medical school, improved confidence in writing personal statements, a better understanding of the components of a strong application, and what the next steps in their education journey look like.

With an average session attendance of 20 mentees per session.


The mentors demonstrated a high level of dedication and attentiveness toward their mentees, exemplifying a strong commitment. A significant proportion, 79% of Casas maintained regular contact through various platforms, meeting at least once a month. 87% of mentees expressed their satisfaction rating their experience with their mentor as excellent. The following testimonials illustrate the mentee experience:

I have been studying for the MCAT exam and my mentor has been very supportive sharing their experiences going through the same journey. So far, I have made significant progress in reaching the score I am aiming for and my mentor has been the only individual to provide helpful solutions when I felt like I hit a wall. Thank you, Sergio!
I got into UChicago for undergrad this past month! Dr. Cuevas’ guidance and general career/life advice have been very helpful and will be something I remember for the rest of my life.


The MOLA Fellowships are unique opportunities for Latinx young professionals to gain practical knowledge, valuable skills, and insights through an experience that covers areas such as non-profit governance, strategic planning, financial management, fundraising, grant writing, and organizational leadership, as well as identifying areas of need within medical education of Latinx students, conduct needs assessments, curriculum design, and program evaluation.

MOLA had two Fellows in 2022

Josselyn Velepucha Iñiguez, MD
Leadership Fellow

Melissa García Patino, MD
Programmatic Fellow


The Public Health & Advocacy Program focuses on highlighting relevant issues in healthcare education and nurturing collaborations with like-minded organizations in hopes to reduce health disparities that impact the Latinx community. Our efforts aim to support existing community organizations and other MOLA programs, advocating for Latinx participation in local policy-making, and implementing and supporting cultural and linguistically tailored healthcare, literacy resources, and research. The work in 2022 was framed by two task forces:

1. LGBTQ Task Force

Chair: Bryan Huerta, Pre-Medical Student
  • Established in July 2022 to develop content and educate the health and medical community on Latinx LGBTQ+ health inequities and person-affirming healthcare communication for all.
  • Engaged 12 volunteers.
  • El Nido: Grant-Funded Mentorship Project focused on HIV prevention in the LGBTQ community through MOLA’s Mentorship. 9 mentees completed the experience. This project was funded by the Chicago AIDS Foundation.
  • Community outreach and partnership with PrEPárate communication outreach in HIV prevention.
  • Literature review to build a curriculum about culturally and clinically appropriate Hispanic/Latinx and LGBTQ-affirming healthcare practices.

2. Diabetes Task Force

  • Diabetes Prevention Program: 6 members completed the National Diabetes Prevention Program – Lifestyle Coaching Training provided by Telligen.: This project engaged Telligen fellowships to complete training, Casa Michoacán, a community-based organization, Esperanza Health Centers, and Chicago CARES.


Co-Chairs: Janeth Cristina Castaño, MD, Adelis Arias, MD

The IHG Program provides continued professional development opportunities through education, mentorship, and networking for Hispanic/Latinx IMGs (International Medical Graduates) and other International Health Graduates. The IHG program supports those seeking to practice to the full potential of their international education and experience in the US. The IHG Program implemented the following programs in 2022:

Beyond USMLE Series

  • We conducted three sessions covering topics such as “Organize our match season”, “The Covid-19 crisis”, and “USMLE’s recent changes” to provide our member’s guidance on how to effectively navigate the residency match process.
  • Via Instagram, we held one Live session that reached over 200 persons with the topic “I sent my application to match 2023. What next?” with a focus on interview preparation

Uworld Grant

  • Three members received a subscription to Uworld to continue learning and preparing for the USMLE Steps.
  • Four First Aid books were awarded to four members to benefit their preparation for the USMLE Step 1 exam.


8 MOLA IHG members matched to residency programs. One of MOLA’s IMG members provided the following testimonial regarding her experience in the match:

“MOLA has helped me immensely throughout my process, thanks to all the programs and opportunities you can access once you are part of this beautiful community. I think one of the biggest things I can attribute my success in the MATCH to was the help and contacts from the organization. – Melissa García Patino, MD
1. Carmen Urso, Family Medicine, Texas 2. Diego Verano, Internal Medicine, California 3. Melissa Garcia, Pathology, Texas 4. Anthony Ramos, Internal Medicine, Florida
5. Adelis Arias, Family Medicine, Chicago 6. Franhe Melean, Pediatrics, New York 7. Paula Pereira, Internal Medicine, Indiana 8. Linda Ponce, Internal Medicine, Georgia

Dr. Evelyn Frías. First Aid Book Winner


Co-chairs: Francisco Iacobelli, PhD, MSc; Arielle Guzmán, MPH

6th Annual MOLA Latinx Health Symposium Paving New Pathways- Abriendo Caminos

  • Total attendees: 747.
  • 24 poster presentations.
  • 1 MOLA Scholar was selected for an oral presentation.
  • 10 MOLA Scholars were selected for poster presentations.
  • 3 academic awards for best poster presentation:
    • First-place: Melanie Izquierdo with Latinx Clinical Trial Enrollment Assessment and Improvement within a Safety-Net Hospital System.
    • Second-place: María Inés Vega Garces Investigating the relationship between HbA1c levels and glaucoma severity in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM) Latino patients.
    • Third-place: Zain Khawaja with Empowering and Developing The Voices of Latinx Youth as Community Leaders.
  • 18 nationally recognized speakers presented.
  • 6 track sessions.
  • Public Health and Infectious Diseases. Hispanic/Latinx Gender and Sexual and LGBTQ+ Identities.
  • Cancer and Chronic diseases.
  • Structural Barriers for Hispanic/Latinx and Minoritized Populations.
  • Reproductive Health and Women’s Rights.
  • Medical Spanish Workshop.

Post-Conference feedback from attendees:

  • 96% of survey participants agreed that the 2022 Annual Latinx Health Symposium met the learning objectives.
  • 96% of survey participants agreed with the statement “At the Symposium, I have obtained new knowledge which can impact my competence”.


Faculty Scholar: Mónica E. Bianco, MD

  • 12 scholars accepted, Graduated 11 MOLA-MRF Scholars.
  • 12 MOLA Scholar Mentors engaged.
  • $65,000 in scholarship funds was awarded, thanks to the principal sponsor, the Michael Reese Research and Education Foundation (MRF).
  • 8 academic institutions with scholars’ affiliation.
  • 10 research projects were presented at the Annual Latinx Health Symposium.

Faculty Scholar Program

In 2022, MOLA inaugurated an innovative program to support not only students in the academic medicine pathway but also faculty. We launched the MOLA Faculty Scholar Program, and after a competitive selection process, selected Dr. Mónica Bianco for the role. The faculty scholar guides and supervises MOLA Scholars’ research projects and is responsible for implementing the educational components and providing one-on-one support to the MOLA-MRF student scholars. Additionally, the MOLA faculty scholar receives supervision and support from MOLA’s Executive Leadership Team as well as Dr. Pilar Ortega, who 2022 served as the MOLA Scholar Program Director. Student scholars also benefit from a preceptorship provided by a researcher or professional who specializes in their respective fields of project work. This comprehensive support system ensures that Students and Faculty scholars receive expert guidance throughout their research journey and helps foster their academic and professional development.


  • The Epicenter for Action Research supported MOLA’s access to the organizational platform Monday.com, to facilitate MOLA-MRF Scholar programming and management.
  • The “Dr. Pilar Ortega MD Annual Scholarship” was awarded to MOLA Scholar Estefanía Pérez-Luna.
  • Dr. Mónica E. Bianco, MD, was selected as MOLA’s Inaugural Faculty Scholar. She is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics (Endocrinology) at Northwestern Medicine.

MOLA Scholar Feedback:

  • All 11 Scholars (100%) completed the post-program survey.
  • 6 out of 11 Scholars started a new research activity in addition to the one they had already started in our MOLA-MRF fellowship program.
  • After completion of the program, 100% of Scholars (n=11) agreed with the statement “ I believe I have the skills to apply research to my career as a health professional after the program”.
  • After completion of the program, 100% of Scholars (n=11) agreed with the statement: “The MOLA-MRF Scholar Program met its objectives”.


On August 30, 2022, our chapter MOLA-Wisconsin launched its program at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in Madison, WI.

At the end of 2022, 48 members were associated with this chapter.

MOLA chapters reach new audiences by taking advantage of local connections to better utilize resources and maximize opportunities for success as well as to generate new ideas and opportunities for members

MOLA-WI Board of Directors

  • Patricia Tellez-Giron, MD. Founding President
  • Maria Mora Pinzon, MD, MS, FACPM. President Elect
  • Maria Daniela Martin Rother, MD. Secretary
  • Erick Tarula, MD. Treasurer
  • Reivian Berrios Barillas, PT, MPT, DPT, PhD. Board Member
  • Manuel Santiago, MEd. Board Member
  • Alejandra Torres Diaz, BS. Board Member
  • Christian Pelayo, BS. Board Member
  • Juliana Craig, BA. Board Member
  • Fernando Cano Ospina. Board Member


Co-chairs: Benito Ibarra; Jonathan Moreira, MD

The main goal of this committee is to increase MOLA’s membership base, create opportunities for Latinx professionals to interact and expand their networks, minimize burnout and reinforce their personal, financial, and career well-being.

Wellness Events

  • We organized three wellness events:
1. Yoga in the Park. 2. Emergency Medicine Workshop with 16 people registered. 3. Welcome event for Hispanic/Latinx Resident Physicians with the goal of bonding, networking, and making friendships with future Hispanic/Latinx leaders in the healthcare field. A total of 62 people registered.


Thanks to the generosity of many sponsors, executive members, board members, and donors our total revenue in the past fiscal year was: $142,966.51. Our largest source of income is Michael Reese Education and Research Foundation to support our scholarships

Execution of the budget


  • Grants: We got $25,000 from grant applications.
  • Donation and Sponsorship: We received a total of $65,633.40.
  • Memberships: We raised $10,008.11 from memberships.
  • Scholarships: We received $55,000 from Michael Reese Foundation for scholarships.


Total expenses were: $147.363,42. In 2022, we invested:

  • $93,058.68 in programs that help in the advancement of our members including scholarships, wellness events, the Annual Health Symposium, the international medical graduates grant, and the mentorship program, among others.
  • $30,825.68 in operating expenses including professional services (grant writer, communications manager), website expenses, subscriptions (zoom, Mailchimp), insurance, bank fees, licenses, and permits.
  • $17,000 for our interns and fellows who help manage while learning.
  • $ 6,479 in marketing


Executive Committee

  • Joaquín Estrada, MD, President, in October 2022 transitioned to Immediate Past President
  • Arielle Guzmán, MPH, Recording Secretary
  • Geraldine Luna, MD, MPH, MBA, Communications Secretary
  • Jonathan Moreira, MD, Membership Secretary, in October 2022 transitioned to Vice-President
  • Pilar Ortega, MD, MGM, Immediate Past President, in October 2022 transitioned to Ex Officio Executive Board Member
  • Gabriela Saldaña, Treasurer
  • Óscar Iván Zambrano, MPH, MBA, Vice President, in October

2022 Continuing Board Directors:

Adelis Arias, MD, Janeth Cristina Castaño, MD, Miguel Carabaño, MD, Katya Cruz Madrid, MD, Francisco Iacobelli, PhD, MSc, Heriberto Martínez, MD, Alicia Olave-Pichón, MD, Roger Terán, MD.

2022 Elected Directors:

Isa Álvarez, Benito Ibarra, and Phillip Sierra


We are proud of and grateful for 58 hardworking enthusiastic and committed volunteers, who brought new ideas, fresh perspectives, programs, and resources to help the advancement of our members throughout 2022.


  • Michael Reese Research and Education Foundation
  • Leukemia and Lymphoma Society
  • ChicagoCHEC
  • Novo Nordisk
  • The Chicago Community Trust
  • Janssen- Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson
  • Gift of Hope
  • Fifth/Third Bank
  • Esperanza Health Centers – Centro Romero
  • UIC – Medical School
  • Northeastern Illinois University
  • Médicos Unidos Venezuela
  • Cook County Department of Public Health – Cook County Health System
  • Project IMG
  • LMSA
  • Rush University


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5. Duma N, Velazquez AI, Franco I, Kiel L, Levit LA, Schenkel C, et al. Dónde Están? Latinx/Hispanic Representation in the Oncology Workforce: Present and Future. JCO Oncol Pract. 2022 May;18(5):388–95.